- In-Home Care
- Dementia Care
Good nutrition is important no matter what your age. Eating well gives you energy, helps control your weight, and may also prevent some diseases, such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. But as we age, our bodies and lives change, along with what we need to stay healthy. Older adults have unique dietary needs, and a focus on getting the right nutrients can help prevent injuries, manage chronic conditions, and improve quality of life all around.
Even knowing the importance of proper nutrition, many seniors and their families face barriers to healthy eating. ComForCare helps fill the gaps, whether that means finding affordable healthy options, preparing meals for a loved one who struggles with a lack of appetite, or making portions easier for those with chewing, swallowing, and other mobility difficulties. We use the MyPlate Program to ensure that every person in our care achieves a balanced diet, getting the nutrients they need in a way that is enjoyable, comfortable, and convenient for them!
Meal planning helps seniors control blood pressure and cholesterol while maintaining a healthy weight and good energy and nutrition levels. Whether you’re managing a loved one’s chronic disease or focusing on prevention, it’s crucial to consider the types of food, portion sizes, food combinations, and timing of meals that will help them thrive. Even in the absence of chronic disease or illness, meal planning can improve overall health and quality of life!
Our caregivers are trained to help identify the barriers to healthy eating and help older adults overcome them. We have a variety of strategies to help, including:
Older adults often have higher protein requirements and lower calorie requirements than younger adults, but everyone needs proper nutrients. Generally, it’s important to eat foods that give you lots of nutrients without a lot of extra calories, such as brightly colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, lean meats and seafood, eggs, and beans, nuts, and seeds. Try to limit foods like chips, candy, baked goods, soda, and alcohol.
Because kidney function decreases with age, seniors might have a harder time removing excess sodium from the body, so they must be particularly cautious about sodium intake. Sodium, in the right amounts, helps maintain fluid balance in the body and is crucial for nerve and muscle function. But too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, which senior adults are already at high risk for. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends getting 1,300mg of sodium per day for adults 51-70 and 1,200mg per day for adults over 70. Both age groups should have no more than 2,300mg of sodium per day.
Eating enough protein can help prevent the loss of muscle mass that occurs naturally with age. Protein also supports the immune system and helps blood carry oxygen around the body. Older adults often eat too little protein—especially adults aged 71 and older. If you’re already eating the recommended amount of meat, poultry, and eggs, or you don’t enjoy these foods, consider other great sources like seafood, dairy and fortified soy alternatives, beans, peas, and lentils!
ComForCare has prepared simple recipes for ease of time when caring for a loved one. This white paper, written with seniors with diverse needs in mind, is packed with nutritious and delicious recipes, meal planning tips, and advice for overcoming dietary barriers.